WheelSpin: Formula One sees best season in years


Nearly 7,000 miles from North Adams, the final race of the Formula 1 season came to an end in the United Arab Emirates. With the final lap came the end to a year of insanity and solid entertainment. I have often written on this racing series because of its relevance in the automotive world so I felt an update was necessary. No worries to those unacquainted with the series, I’ll provide a little context.

This racing series is the highest class of single-seat auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and it just completed its 71st season. This year, 10 teams with two cars a piece competed at 20 different tracks in 20 different countries around the globe. Drivers score points for finishing within the top ten and there is a constructor championship (won through the total points your pair of drivers win) and a driver championship (won by accruing the most points in the season).

This season saw much more competition between teams than in recent memory but still saw a champion crowned with races left on the calendar. Mercedes-Benz captured its fourth consecutive constructor championship in as many years and the team’s golden boy, Lewis Hamilton, won his fourth world title.

But it isn’t as dreary as it seems. Though the driver who won this year has won three of the last four years and no constructor has come close to matching Mercedes in that same time, this season was different. Three teams captured at least three victories this season which hasn’t happened since the intense 2012 season. Sebastian Vettel (the Ferrari driver) was leading the championship well into the season and, if not for some key retirements, he very easily could have been the one celebrating this year.
In 2016, 2015, and 2014, from the first lap of the first race, it was never in doubt which constructor would win. 2017 had a much more intense feel as Ferrari proved to be extremely close, if not equal to, the German dominator that is Mercedes-Benz.

That being said, there is much that needs to be improved with arguably the best racing series on the planet. For example, there happen to be more regulations in this sport than may be completely necessary. The change in power unit was allegedly supposed to make the series more economical and easier for new teams to afford, but that seems quite far from reality. As impressive as the technology is, it forces the smaller teams to spend obscene amounts of money they simply don’t have. There has to be some type of balance.